LANSING, Mich. — The Senate approved a bipartisan plan to raise the age of legal adulthood within the state’s court system on Wednesday. The multi-bill plan would establish 17-year-olds as minors in most cases.
“I thank my Senate colleagues for their support in passing our ‘Raise the Age’ plan,” said Lucido, R-Shelby Township, who has pushed for the reform for years. “Kids aren’t adults — they make kid mistakes without thinking about or fully understanding the consequences of their actions. In most cases, these aren’t violent crimes; they’re dumb mistakes.
“This is a plan that still holds youth offenders accountable but helps them also to learn from their mistakes and to not repeat them, so that they can still have a chance at becoming productive members of society and not ruin their lives before they really start.”
The “Raise the Age” plan would amend or add to various parts of the state’s Probate Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Juvenile Diversion Act, the Youth Rehabilitation Act, the Mental Health Code, and the Indigent Defense Commission Act, and it would formally recognize that a 17-year-old should be considered a juvenile for purposes of adjudication or prosecution of criminal offenses. It would still allow for 17-year-olds to be treated as adults in violent criminal offenses.
Michigan is one of only four states that prosecute 17-year-olds as adults. Statistics show that states that have enacted similar raise-the-age laws have experienced a significant decrease in juvenile court referrals and recidivism.
Senate Bills 84 and 90-102 now go to the state House of Representatives for consideration.